Moore Fingertip Gallery
Moore Fingertip pens are definitely uncommon, so it's a rare treat when a collector friend who fancies Moore pens hands you a box full of them to use for photographs and then tells you to take your time with them. I personally own exactly one of these Buck Rogers inspired zoomers, so the prospect of so many was like a day pass to the matinee where they were running the complete serials from start to finish.
There's no doubt that the Fingertip, as with many other pen designs of the 1940s, was a response to the incredible success of the Parker 51, which was introduced in 1941. Some pen companies, like Eversharp and Waterman, were apparently caught napping, and rushed to make hooded models of their own, essentially reverse engineering the design in a fit of "me, too." These efforts resulted in the not particularly successful Eversharp Fifth Avenue and Waterman Taperite lines. Sheaffer went its own way, announcing a new conical, "Triumph" nib and like named pen line, with a nib design that extended the line of the barrel directly from the edges of the section to the tip in a sweep of 14 karat gold. Sheaffer successfully competed with Parker by touting all the evident gold in the design, and the visible lack of it in the Parker 51.
The Fingertip design is unique among the counters to the 51. This pen introduced possibly the earliest inlaid nib design. The section is a cone of stainless steel with an elongated nib fitted flush in a slot on the top. The feed is hidden inside. Like the Sheaffer Triumph design, the Fingertip section continues the lines of the barrel tapering to the point of the nib, but achieves it more cleanly than the Sheaffer design, because of the hidden feed. The Triumph design shows some of the feed under the front opening.
Interestingly, Moore elected to make the barrel end blunt, giving the open pen a distinct bullet cartridge look. Literally capping the design is the literally over the top clip, which completes the zoomy space age look of the pen. The Fingertip was definitely like nothing else offered in the late 1940s.
What was especially exciting about this box full of Moore Fingertips was that it contained examples of the more interesting and less common types. In hunting for Fingertips, I've noticed that most of them that come available are the solid color pens in Lustre Black, Sunset Red, Vintage Wine, Starlight Blue, and Woodsman Green. Mine is a Starlight Blue model. Much less common is the solid color Eiderdown White, a color that is very prone to discoloration, especially ambering. Both of the Eiderdown White pens in the box exhibited this problem.
The Demi model is especially unusual, and quite different in design and build quality to the larger standard Fingertip. The Demi has a metal slip cap sporting a "derby" bulb at the cap top. The Demi also has a shorter nib section with radial grooves cut into it. The lower build quality makes me wonder if the Demi was a later model or even the second generation of the Fingertip. Very little primary information on this model exists.
An unfortunate element of the Fingertip design is the inky fingers "feature." Because the nib is not truly inlaid, meaning sealed into the section, as on the Sheaffer PFM (which was introduced in 1959), ink can wick up to the nib edges in the section cutout and onto unsuspecting fingers while writing. This feature gives new meaning to the name Fingertip, as in, "your fingertips may get inky if you use this pen."
The priciest and prettiest Moore Fingertips are the striped celluloid pens. These were offered in two colors, Autumn Pearl and Seaspray Pearl, and this same material can be seen on some standard open nib Moore pens. The striped Fingertip pens command a significant premium over the solid color pens and are also much less common.
Moore Fingertips came in eight colors and at least two body styles. All are plastic pens in either solid colors or striped celluloid. The Demi model has solid color plastic barrels and either polished chrome plated or thin gold plated caps. Solid colors included Lustre Black, Sunset Red, Vintage Wine, Starlight Blue, Woodsman Green, and Eiderdown White and striped colors included Autumn Pearl and Seaspray Pearl. Fingertip pens sold for US $8.75, matching injector pencils sold for US $3.75, and pen and pencil sets were US $12.50. All models were fitted with a stainless steel section and a 14kt gold inlaid nib.
Thanks to Ross McKinney of RossPens.com for loaning the Moore Fingertip pens used in this article.
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Last Update 3/29/05